Online English Bachelor's Degree

What You'll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

English degrees are extremely versatile and open doors to numerous career opportunities. Obtaining a bachelor's in English focuses on the study of composition, reading and comprehension, writing, and grammar. Students in this degree also learn fundamental skills in organization, operations, and communication. Students enhance their practical, analytical skills and fine tune their composition and creative writing abilities. While most people think of English degrees as the pathway to becoming a teacher or an author, it is also common for graduates to enter any field with aspects of communication, such as marketing, public relations, technical writing, and journalism.

Why Earn an Online English Degree?

Students pursuing a BA in English can often choose to earn their degree online. While many students still opt for traditional brick-and-mortar learning, more students are choosing to complete their education at a distance. One of the common reasons students opt for an online education is the unparalleled flexibility. Online programs are usually offered in one of two formats: synchronous or asynchronous. The former option allows students to take classes from anywhere, but students must attend set lecture times and participate in live discussions with other distance learners. Alternatively, asynchronous programs allow students to complete classwork from anywhere and at any time. Students earning their English degree online may choose to enroll full or part time to complete this 120-credit program in as few as three years, or as many as five years, at most institutions.

Online English degrees are also typically more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. Undergraduate distance learners do not need to worry about campus-related fees, such as room and board, commuting, or purchasing physical textbooks.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in English?

Graduates with an online English degree are prepared for a wide variety of careers. While many skills in this degree focus on literature specifically, students also develop skills that translate well to other fields, like oral and written communication, analysis, critical thinking, organization, and time management. Students majoring in English also frequently have the option to specialize their degree toward a field of interest, like public relations or journalism.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Since a bachelor's in English is such a diverse degree, students gain many skills necessary for a career in fields involving communication or critical thinking. The foundational study of literature covers coursework in philosophy, ethics, religion, anthropology, history, psychology, and culture. Students enhance their learning through creative and compositional writing, and advance literary analysis through classes such as applied linguistics, editing and publishing, composition, studies in rhetoric, and principles of communication. Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in English literature have access to careers in advertising, marketing, editing, journalism, teaching, and more. Individuals looking to become a teacher may benefit from earning a master's degree.

Earning a bachelor's in English creates opportunities that are not available to graduates with an associate degree in this field. While earning an associate degree is a great step toward career readiness, earning a bachelor's is a more intensive educational experience that provides students with a diverse skill set. Coursework at the associate level focuses on an introduction to analysis and writing skills whereas classes at the undergraduate level dive deeper into analytics and communication, making these graduates more competitive in the job market.

Careers and Salary Potential

Graduates with an online English degree can enter the workforce in a variety of roles. The diverse curriculum prepares students to work in almost any field. Regardless of industry, all businesses need employees with the ability to think critically and communicate clearly and efficiently. According to PayScale, the below careers are common for graduates with an English degree.

  • Education: Grade school teachers must have at least an undergraduate degree, while middle and high school English teachers must have a bachelor's or master's in this field. Teachers must demonstrate their proficiency in language and literary analysis.

  • Government: Government work requires strong, clear communication and critical analysis. Professionals with a bachelor's in English are prepared to work at any government level; however, it may be beneficial to complete additional coursework in areas such as politics and international affairs for some roles.

  • Financial Services: Financial service professionals are responsible for a multitude of operational tasks and must be extremely organized in their work. A bachelors in English prepares graduates to be detail-focused and efficient.

  • Marketing Agencies: By being great communicators, English majors are skilled marketers and advertisers. Advertising agencies need employees that are able to communicate with a broad audience in an interesting and engaging way.

Writer or Author

Annual Median Salary: $61,820

Writers and authors create written pieces for different platforms, such as books, movies, magazines, advertisements, blogs, and scripts. These works may be fictional or nonfictional depending on the publication. Many writers work independently or freelance, but some industries employ staff writers to work full time.

Public Relations Specialist

Annual Median Salary: $59,300

Public relations specialists maintain the public image of an organization. These professionals manage social media accounts and create media programs to build the public image of their company. By creating and managing this media, these specialists communicate their company's aims and achievements.

Journalist

Annual Median Salary: $39,484

Journalists write nonfiction reports for print and online publications. A journalist's salary may vary slightly based on skill set. Those with more niche skills, such as technical writing, video editing, and social media skills, may earn more than those with entry level positions.

High School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $59,170

High school teachers work with students in grades nine through twelve. Graduates with an online BA in English can become an English teacher, though many schools hire English graduates as teachers of history, philosophy, and psychology as well. High school level coursework varies, but most teachers follow a curriculum steeped in classic literature and analysis.

Editor

Annual Median Salary: $58,770

Editors are responsible for reviewing, revising, and planning content for publication. While in some cases editors are also responsible for creating content, the majority of professionals in this role edit the work of others. Editors ensure that written pieces are grammatically correct and flow well for the reader. This career requires a high level of reading comprehension, analysis, and advanced knowledge of grammar and spelling.